EARLY TRANSISTOR AND DIODE HISTORY

AT BELL LABS

Art Uhlir Jr.

 

Biographic Note

 

Professor Art Uhlir Jr. has been associated with the semiconductor field for over 50 years, beginning in 1952 when he completed a PhD in Physics at the University of Chicago and joined Bell Labs to begin work on characterizing the performance of the earliest germanium point contact and grown junction transistors.††† One of Artís first assignments as a member of the Transistor Development Department, was to apply his knowledge of chemistry (MS in Chemical Engineering, 1948,at Illinois Institute of Technology) to the study of surface leakage problems on germanium grown junctions.As an outgrowth of this work, Artís group began studying the use of chemical etching with germanium and silicon structures.An historic result of this research was the discovery of a substance now known as porous silicon. [REF 1].This pioneering work has recently been the topic of renewed interest and research, with hundreds of academic paper published annually over the past few years.Artís next assignment at Bell Labs was to determine the applicability of Shockleyís p-n junction theory to microwave diodes.†† Studying both point contact and diffused junction diodes, Artís group succeeded in developing a solid theoretical understanding and resultant set of devices which have had a profound effect in the field of microwave electronics; these devices have come to be known as parametric amplifiers and varactor diodes. [REF 2].

 

 

Biographic Note - Continued

 

Art left Bell Labs in 1958 to join Microwave Associates, first as the Director of Semiconductor R&D and later as Vice President of the Semiconductor Operation.In 1970, Art accepted the position of Professor and Chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department at Tufts University.He was Dean of the College of Engineering from 1973 to 1980.He and his graduate students developed novel methods of microwave measurement through and beyond his retirement from Tufts in 1994.Most recently he was asked to deliver the opening address at the 2004 International Porous Semiconductor Science and Technology held in Cullera Spain, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of porous silicon by Art and his wife Inge, who had joined Artís group as a chemist back in 1953. Both Art and Inge attended the recent conference in Spain.††††††

 

This Oral History has been based on a series of interviews and conversations with Art in May 2004.The Oral History will focus primarily on Artís early work with transistors and diodes at Bell Labs.††

 

Uhlir Historic Audio Recordings

 

 

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Go To Uhlir Oral History, Page 2

 

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